Week Two Sessions Outline:
- Take a few moments to stand in a relaxed position, quiet your mind, relax your body, and slow and deepen your breath before you start into the qigong exercises
- You may want to begin your sessions with ‘Playing With Waves’ exercises from last week before moving on to this week’s focus
- Spend as much time as you want on each step of this week’s ‘Empty and Full’ exercises before moving to the next. Take your time and focus on the movement of force and energy within each movement
- End your sessions with some simple qigong self massage to help return your energy to your centre
In these ‘Empty and Full’ exercises our focus is on the movement of energy within and between our legs. How smoothly we can move the energy in our legs will have a big effect on the energy through the rest of the body which sits on top of the legs. If the legs are stiff and jerky it will be difficult to move energy gently and smoothly through the rest of the body.
With these movements our aim is to shift our weight – and the fluid force associated with this from side to side and front to back, smoothly while keeping the rest of our body centred, balanced and relaxed. It can help to think of your legs as having water in them, and as you shift your weight onto one leg it fills up while the other empties, leaving one leg heavy and full and the other empty and light. Then as you transfer the weight again you steadily pour the water, force, and weight across to the other leg.
When we are stiff we end up ‘falling’ from one step into the next. If we are moving quickly we do not notice this pattern of stiffening and falling and the wear and tear this creates in our bodies. By practicing slowly these movements will challenge your balance and alignment and build skills of being able to transfer weight smoothly and easily from one leg to another. Instead of jerking and falling, it should feel like a smooth rolling motion. This will create habits of efficient movement that with enough practice will come naturally even when you are moving quickly.
One of the areas that people find most challenging in these movements is to keep the lower back relaxed. Focus on not tensing this up as you move and step. Also try to avoid leaning backward and forward with each motion but instead stay centred and balanced on top of your legs.